It’s the beginning of the year, and we’re all trying to adjust to being back in the office – nobody really wants to be reading anything hugely taxing/in-depth right now.
So, I’ve come up with a quick guide of self-contained Marvel Comics to read to start your year with! Everything included here is its own story, without tie-ins to any other major title, and generally only requires a bit of knowledge about the characters involved.
Giant Sized Little Marvel by Skottie Young
Skottie Young brings out the big guns…and the little Marvels…in the series fans have been waiting for! In the Battleworld zone known as Marville, playtime is serious business — and Marville’s pint-sized heroes are working overtime to prove to their new neighbours which crew is toughest! With super-powered dodgeball, high-tech hideouts and eye-puns aplenty, Marvel’s most adorable heroes aren’t pulling any punches in this larger-than-life, fun-sized adventure. Featuring all your favorites (just, you know, shorter) including Cyclops, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wolverine and more as the toughest, funniest, craziest and most adorable Marvel heroes throw down in a battle of the fittest! The smaller they are, the harder they brawl — this is Battleworld, after all!
This mentions Battleworld, which I will do a full guide on when we get to Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, but you don’t really need to know what that is, as this comic doesn’t really tie-in to everything going on with that event. So all you need to know is the characters mentioned – and you’ll have the basic knowledge you need from watching the MCU, as well as the Fox X-Men and Fox Fantastic Four movies.
Giant Sized Little Marvel is more just the child versions of the Avengers, the X-Men and just about everyone else battling each other in childlike ways. It’s cute, it’s short, and one of my absolute favourite comics!
Black Panther Legends by Tochi Onyebuchi
Dive into the legend of the Black Panther in this new origin story by acclaimed author Tochi Onyebuchi and New York Times-bestselling illustrator Setor Fiadzigbey! T’Challa and Hunter are brothers growing up in the idyllic royal palace of Wakanda. Theirs goes beyond the usual sibling rivalry, though — Hunter, although older, is adopted, and T’Challa is the true heir to the throne. But when tragedy strikes, the two brothers must grow up fast! See the moments that made T’Challa who he is, from his walkabout as a teen where he meets the enchanting Ororo Munroe, to when he first invites the Fantastic Four to Wakanda! Son, brother, warrior, king…as each chapter unfolds, new pieces of T’Challa’s character will be revealed — and the Black Panther will rise!
A newer run dedicated to the origins of T’Challa, the Black Panther. It’s aimed as a more child-friendly audience, but definitely should be a fun read, regardless of how old you are.
Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings
Gwen Poole used to be a comic book reader just like you…until she woke up in a world where the characters she read about seemed to be real! But that can’t be, right? This must all be fake, or a dream or something, right? And you know what that means…NO CONSEQUENCES!
Could Gwenpool truly be Marvel’s least responsible and least role-modely character to date? She can if she tries!
Possibly one of my all-time favourite Marvel characters – Gwen is very much like Deadpool, in the sense that she knows she’s in a comic and is constantly breaking the fourth wall, but with added fangirl. Personally, I find Gwen to be an incredibly relatable character, and just generally love her – and what’s even better, is that she generally doesn’t get involved in larger comic events, so if you’re new to this world, you just need basic knowledge of the characters she meets, which you’ll have if you’re an MCU fan!
The Runaways by Brian K Vaughan
Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico – a group of teens whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn…
You may have seen the TV show to this, but if you haven’t, the Runaways are essentially a team of teenagers who find out that their parents are evil and try to stop them. It’s a fun time, and characters like Nico pop up in other comics over time so it’s worth giving this a look!
On Marvel Unlimited:
This is only available on Marvel Unlimited, so if you do not have a subscription, you sadly won’t be able to get hold of them. But I wanted to include them anyway because they’re a great way to get back into comic reading again, and don’t take up too much mental bandwidth at the beginning of the year:
Exactly what it says in the title – this is a series of short, funny little stories, told by creators like Skottie Young and Kelly Thompson. These include the Marvel Meow mini-series, where various Marvel characters like Bucky Barnes and Spider-Man end up looking after cats, a few shorts on Alligator Loki, more Giant Sized Little Marvel tales, and Jeff the Land Shark, who is essentially a shark called Jeff who walks in land (like I said, these are funny, in every sense of the word).
A Few Honourable Mentions:
These should be available everywhere but involve a little bit more knowledge than what I’ve mentioned before. I just wanted to put them on here because they’re still fun, light-hearted, and a great way to start your year!
Just some cute Groot stories, that don’t really affect anything around the Marvel Universe – they’re just fun!
A bit more involved in the Marvel Universe, but just generally a good time!
Again, a bit more involved than others on this list, in the sense that Moon Girl teams up with the Avengers, Miles Morales and Moon Knight, but it’s still a short, fun ride made as a jumping off point for Moon Girl!
And that’s everything I’ve got for short, fun comics to read to start your year! What are you starting your year with? Tell me in the comments below!